Inconsistent Police Practices On Long Island Endanger Immigrants

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(Photo/Department of Homeland Security)

Despite a pending application for citizenship, an Ecuadorian father and husband living in Central Islip for 17 years has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after a traffic stop in Lloyd Harbor, according to a recently published Newsday report.

In May, Felipe Iñiguez was stopped by police in the Village of Lloyd Harbor for a burned out headlight. That same day, he fixed the issue and turned in his ticket to his local precinct to have it canceled. But, while on the way to work on August 29, he was ambushed by ICE agents in an unmarked vehicle and has been detained ever since. Iñiguez’ application to adjust his legal status based on marriage was initially accepted by Lloyd Harbor police during his traffic stop, but that did not stop them from contacting ICE.

Iñiguez’s plight illustrates Trump’s dangerous scattershot approach to immigration enforcement that spares no one.

The Newsday report states that if Iñiguez had been stopped just outside of Lloyd Harbor, he would have likely encountered Suffolk police, who apparently have a policy of not contacting ICE unless someone is charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime. The article further notes that Nassau police have the same policy.

However, there was at least one incident last year — and more, according to community members — that shows that policy does not always translate into practice. Just last August, 30-year-old Salvadoran immigrant Denis Guerra Guerra was arrested, detained, and eventually deported following a traffic stop for allegedly failing to signal a turn, which only amounts to a traffic violation.

Such local incidents, along with haphazard law enforcement, show that the nefarious decisions and attitudes emanating from the current White House trickle down into situations where immigrants are always a target, even if they follow the law, and even if they are attempting to adjust their status.

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